Commentary

USA's goal at the U-17 World Cup should be first knockout-stage win since 1999

By Mike Woitalla

The USA begins its 2015 U-17 World Cup campaign in Chile on Saturday when it faces defending champion Nigeria. The USA's best performance in its 14 previous appearances at the biennial tournament came in 1999, with a fourth-place finish. That was also the last time the USA won a game in the knockout stage of the tournament.

U.S. U-17 World Cup (Group A) games
Saturday, Oct. 17: USA-Nigeria (4 pm ET) Telemundo, FS2.
Tuesday, Oct. 20: USA-Croatia (4 pm ET) NBC Universo, FS2.
Friday, Oct. 23: Chile-USA (7 pm ET) NBC Universo, FS2.

At the 24-team tournament in Chile, four of the six groups' third-place finishers join the top two finishers of each group in the round of 16. Clearly, the aim of the USA will be to reach the second round and finally notch another knockout-round victory.

Meet the 21 U.S. 2015 U-17 World Cup players

Coach Richie Williams' U.S. U-17s have met Croatia and Nigeria. They swept a pair of 1-0 decisions against Croatia in Zagreb in April 2014 and played Chile to a 2-2 tie when they met in the opening game of the 2014 Copa Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins.

Nigeria has won a record four U-17 world titles, one more than Brazil. In Croatia's two previous appearances, 2001 and 2013, it exited in the first round of the U-17 World Cup. Chile's best performance came with a third-place finish in 1993. Its last appearance came in 1997. Although an automatic qualifier as host, Chile took part in the 2015 South American U-17 Championship, where it was outscored, 4-12, while losing all four games against Uruguay, Ecuador, Argentina and Bolivia.

Here's a look at how the USA has fared in previous U-17 World Cups and notable players from those appearances.

2013 UAE (host)
USA did not qualify.
U.S. coach: Richie Williams.
Final: Nigeria 3 Mexico 0.

2011 Mexico
USA opened with a 3-0 win over the Czech Republic, followed with a 2-1 loss to Uzbekistan, a 1-1 tie with New Zealand and a 4-0 loss to Germany in the round of 16.
Notable players: Marc Pelosi (San Jose Earthquakes) and Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids) played on the U.S. U-23 national team that finished third in this month’s Concacaf Olympic Qualifying tournament. Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas) and Paul Arriola (Tijuana Xolos) played on the U.S. team that reached the quarterfinals at the 2015 U-20 World Cup last June.
U.S coach: Wilmer Cabrera.
Final: Mexico 2 Uruguay 0.

2009 Nigeria
After opening with a 2-1 loss to Spain, the USA beat Malawi 1-0 and UAE 1-0 and advanced to the second round, where it fell to Italy, 2-1.
Notable players: Juan Agudelo (New England), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Jack McInerney (Columbus Crew) and Perry Kitchen (D.C. United) are well established MLS players. Gil, Will Packwood and Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake) played in qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics with the U-23s, who face Colombia in a March playoff.
U.S. coach: Wilmer Cabrera.
Final: Switzerland 1 Nigeria 0.

2007 South Korea
One win (2-0 over Belgium), despite losses to Tajikistan (4-3) and Tunisia (3-1), was enough to send the USA to the second round, where it fell to Germany, 2-1.
Notable players: Brek Shea (Orlando City) and Greg Garza (Club Atlas) are part of the current full national team pool. Faud Ibrahim represented Ethiopia at the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. Sheanon Williams (Houston Dynamo), Kofi Sarkodie (Houston Dynamo), Danny Cruz (Bodo/Glimt) and Zak MacMath (Colorado Rapids) made it in the pros.
U.S. coach: John Hackworth.
Final: Nigeria 0 Spain 0 (PKs, 3-0).

2005 Peru
The USA finished first in its group with wins over North Korea (3-2) and Italy (3-1) and a tie with Ivory Coast (1-1) but it fell to the Netherlands (2-0) in the second round.
Notable players: Current national team players Jozy Altidore and Omar Gonzalez were on the team along with Borussia Dortmund's Neven Subotic, who now plays for Serbia. The Farfan brothers, Gabe (Chiapas) and Mike (D.C. United) have had long pro careers.
U.S. coach: John Hackworth.
Final: Mexico 3 Brazil 0.

2003 Finland
Freddy Adu's coming out began with a hat trick in the 6-1 win over South Korea in the opener. But the tournament ended quietly with a 3-0 loss to Brazil in the quarterfinals.
Notable players: Other future pros included Jonathan Spector, Jacob Peterson, Corey Ashe, Eddie Gaven, Michael Harrington and Danny Szetela.
U.S. coach: John Ellinger.
Final: Brazil 1 Spain 0.

2001 Trinidad & Tobago
The USA went winless in the final tournament in a group that included eventual champion France and runner-up Nigeria.
Notable players: Future national team player Eddie Johnson and former D.C. United star Santino Quaranta were the stars. Current MLS veterans include Mike Magee, Chad Marshall, Justin Mapp, Tyson Wahl.
U.S. coach: John Ellinger.
Final: France 3 Nigeria 0

1999 New Zealand
For the only time, the USA reached the final four thanks to a 3-2 win over Mexico in the quarterfinals. The Americans fell to Australia, 7-6 in a shootout in the semifinals after their game ended 2-2.
Notable players: Landon Donovan won the Golden Ball as the tournament's top player, and DaMarcus Beasley won the Silver Ball. Other future World Cup players Oguchi Onyewu, Bobby Convey and Kyle Beckerman were on the team that was the first that had been in residency in Bradenton, Fla.
Coach: John Ellinger.
Final: Brazil 0 Australia 0 (PKs, 8-7)

1997 Egypt
A first-round exit for the Americans with one win -- 4-0 over Austria -- in three games.
Notable players: Former New England Revs and current ESPN broadcaster Taylor Twellman, Toronto FC defender Danny Califf.
U.S. coach: Jay Miller.
Final: Brazil 2 Ghana 1.

1995 Ecuador
Three straight losses sent the USA home from the final tournament in Ecuador after the group stage.
Notable players: Goalkeepers Tim Howard and Nick Rimando. Defender Nick Garcia played more than 300 MLS games, winning MLS Cup in rookie year of 2000.
U.S. coach: Glenn Myernick.
Final: Ghana 3 Brazil 2.

1993 Japan
Judah Cooks' hat trick -- the first ever by an American -- gave the USA a 5-1 win over Qatar in its final group game to reach the quarterfinals, where it lost, 3-0, to Poland.
Notable players: 2002, 2006 World Cup midfielder John O'Brien (who did not come off the bench in Japan), Chicago Fire keeper Jon Busch.
U.S. coach: Roy Rees.
Final: Nigeria 2 Ghana 1

1991 Italy
First team to reach knockout stage thanks to wins over host Italy, Argentina and China but it lost in quarterfinals to Qatar.
Notable players: U-17 Women's World Cup coach 2012 Albertin Montoya. Mike Slivinski and Mark Jonas later in the year became the youngest players to represent the USA at the senior level, but neither earned a second cap.
U.S. coach: Roy Rees.
Final: Ghana 1 Spain 0.

1989 Scotland
Beat Brazil in opening game of final tournament in Scotland but did not advance out of its group.
Notable players: World Cup captain Claudio Reyna, UCLA coach Jorge Salcedo, Baba brothers, Nidal and Imad.
Coach: Roy Rees.
Final: Saudi Arabia 2 Scotland 2 (PKs, 5-4)

1987 Canada
Opened with 2-1 win over Ecuador but exited in the first round with 1-0 loss to Ivory Coast and 4-2 loss to South Korea.
Notable players: World Cup 1998 players Chad Deering and Mike Burns, one-time phenom Steve Snow. Burns, Snow, Erik Imler and Troy Dayak played in 1992 Olympic Games, the year it became a U-23 competition.
U.S. coach: Roy Rees.
Final: USSR 1 Nigeria 1 (PKs, 4-2)

1985 China
Lost to Guinea (1-0) and China (3-1); beat Bolivia (2-1).
Notable players: Former Major League Baseball outfielder Curtis Pride, super agent Lyle Yorks.
U.S. coach: Angus McAlpine.
Final: Nigeria 2 West Germany 0.

4 comments about "USA's goal at the U-17 World Cup should be first knockout-stage win since 1999".
  1. Santiago 1314, October 15, 2015 at 9:58 p.m.

    GOOD LUCK...Attack, Attack, Attack.!!!..
    Don't Lay Back!!!...High Pressure...Steal the Ball and Transition into Quick Foot Skills and Clever Passes...Be Unpredictable and Determined..!!!...We Believe that We can Win!!!

  2. Santiago 1314 replied, October 16, 2015 at 2:46 p.m.

    p.s. Can USA play in those Shirts that the Kids are Wearing. ??? They Actually have some Style...Not like those other "plain Jane" White Polos..

  3. Santiago 1314 replied, October 16, 2015 at 3:48 p.m.

    p.s.s. Passport Check-In for player Pass, Those were the Nervous Times; had Bruce Murray; WASHED, LOST or LEFT His Somewhere..???

  4. cony konstin, October 16, 2015 at 2:01 a.m.

    Good luck kids. Unleash hell.....

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